Lauren Boebert has easily won her primary race in Colorado. What now?

Lauren Boebert has easily won her primary race in Colorado. What now?

Lauren Boebert has won the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.

The win marks just the latest high-octane interlude in a political career that has been turbulent from the outset — to say the least.

Boebert, a mother of four sons and new grandmother at the age of 37, followed an unlikely path to Congress and to the Republican Party in general. She was raised by a Democrat mother, often on welfare, and first registered with the party of the left herself before switching to Republican in 2008.

She often speaks of her liberal upbringing and its alleged consequences to hammer home the rationale for her conservative values, just as she draws on her teenage job at McDonald’s in Rifle, where she dropped out of high school to work as a shift manager at the fast food chain.

Lauren Boebert, wearing a pair of gold Trump sneakers, speaks to supporters on election night after winning her primary race on June 25, 2024 (John Bowden)

It was fast food that would also put Boebert on the map and, arguably, on the path to the national stage; she and her then-husband, Jayson, opened a gun-themed eatery in Rifle in 2013 called Shooters Grill, which made headlines and eventually drew tourists with its open-carry waitresses. The Second Amendment theme foreshadowed her gun-heavy political career. Within a few years, she was publicly fighting for gun rights and in 2019 launched a congressional campaign to unseat five-term incumbent Scott Tipton in CD3. Only after she announced did she earn her GED.

Riding a wave of Western Slope libertarianism and Covid lockdown backlash, Boebert rocketed to victory in a highly-publicized upset. That kicked off what would become a nonstop rollercoaster of personal and professional shenanigans.

Boebert established herself as one of Trump’s most loyal and vocal supporters in the House, then became even more infamous after heckling President Biden during the 2022 State of the Union address. The move was controversial, even among her Republican colleagues, and her Democratic opponent in the CD3 race – Aspen businessman Adam Frisch – subsequently nearly tanked her re-election campaign, mandating a recount that saw her narrowly limp to victory with just over 540 votes.

Boebert and her then-husband operated Shooters Grill in Rifle until 2022; it became a tourist attraction for gun paraphernalia and later its association with the firebrand congresswoman (Sheila Flynn)

Frisch geared up for a rematch and in February 2023 announced his campaign to again unseat her – this time with higher name recognition, a national spotlight on the race and donations pouring in for the Democrat.

As his star continued to rise, though, Boebert’s began to falter. Her work in Washington did earn her an ally, at least for political expediency, in Mike Johnson following his election to speaker in the fall of 2023. But that was a tumultuous year for the House Republican caucus in general, and Boebert found herself in a public feud with Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of her most acidic colleagues, in interviews.

Their spat escalated throughout the summer of 2023 and led to a confrontation between the two on the House floor wherein Greene was reported to have called Boebert a “little b****”.

Elsewhere, Boebert filed for divorce in May 2023, and by September had encountered one of the biggest stumbling blocks of her career: The sitting representative was filmed vaping and misbehaving in a lewd manner with a date at a Denver theater, resulting in her ejection. That act of public exposure, which earned the congresswoman chants of “Beetlejuice” (referring to the show from which she was removed) that followed her through the campaign.

“The theater stuff was bad,” one Boebert campaign official acknowledged on Tuesday. “But you saw that afterwards, she showed voters she was contrite. She knew she had messed up.”

Her aides and allies portrayed her as more than just “the controversies she gets herself into”, as that campaign official described it. They painted a picture of a young, driven campaigner who had aggressively pursued voters in her new district. They pointed to her frequent appearances at campaign stops and candidate forums, including in the much-neglected eastern plains. One senior Boebert ally said that the absence of her predecessor, retiring Rep Ken Buck, had helped her in those counties.

And they rejected the idea that those negative headlines which seem to constantly surround her would drag down her — or the GOP — in November.

Campaign officials pointed to her sound margin of victory, with the congresswoman taking more than 40 per cent of the vote, as evidence.

“Look, a lot of people thought we were going to come into the district and expect a coronation,” a senior Boebert campaign source told The Independent after her victory. “And we didn’t.”

“I don’t think you can pin this to just ‘it was never a one-on-one [fight],’” they continued. Of her competitors: “We didn’t give them any oxygen. We didn’t let any of them break out.”

Lauren Boebert watched the results come in Tuesday evening in the shadow of the Rockies in Windsor, Colorado (John Bowden)

A crowded field of rivals including Deborah Flora and Richard Holtorf had pushed voters to choose “substance over celebrity”, and reject the woman who had moved to their district to save her political career.

The congresswoman’s old district, CD-03, was “a safe Republican district, [or] at least it was before Lauren ran for it,” Flora contended to The Independent in an interview on Tuesday just ahead of polls closing in the district.

“She almost lost the first election by 500 votes. That was before any of the headlines or anything else,” said Flora, who looked to be taking second or third on Tuesday. “And I have many supporters, including someone who’s on my team, who was really one of her former team members. And the reason why she switched is because Lauren lost support and CD-03, not because it wasn’t a very conservative district.

“It was because everyone there felt and I’m quoting them, that she was more focused on celebrity than solutions.”

But they were unable to make any real traction against Boebert with that argument. Voters who supported the congressman on Tuesday spoke to her record as a vocal, staunch conservative as well as just personally a strong figure.

“She strikes me as one of those women who’s stout, who has backbone. You know, she runs her own business in an interesting part of the world,” one Boebert supporter, Ken Zaring, said on Tuesday.

Lauren Boebert speaks to reporters after winning her primary Tuesday evening in Windsor, Colorado (John Bowden)

Boebert denied the existence of the theater incident before attempting to blame it on the trauma of her divorce when faced with video evidence – but the hits kept coming. She later got into a public screaming match with her ex-husband, then her son – who’d recently fathered a baby with his teen girlfriend – got arrested.

While her Republican supporters were unfazed by the resulting headlines, Democrats in the district saw an opportunity. They continue to see that opportunity after Boebert’s commanding victory on Tuesday.

“I think this presents the first opportunity to flip Colorado totally blue,” said one Democrat working for a campaign in the district.

“I think that’s the that’s the reality. I mean, she is deeply unpopular, even in this district, and the Republican Party’s national civil war. They’re bashing each other.”

Her onetime Democratic rival Frisch’s campaign has largely continued steamrolling ahead since his narrow defeat to her in 2022. His pressure led to her announcing around Christmas time that she would abandon the campaign altogether, instead seeking a seat in a more heavily conservative district across the state. The congresswoman’s alliance with Speaker Johnson and her continued loyalty to Trump led to her retaining two powerful friends as she sought that seat Tuesday in the fourth district, where she presumed she would have a better chance.

She got her answer tonight.